Which way does it flow

Pos to neg or neg to pos. In electronics school in the military I was taught neg to pos. In college I was taught poss to neg. So does anyone really know?

This may help.

Direct Current (DC) was originally thought to have flowed from + to - so much of the early labeling and terms such as;

  • (as in adding electrons to the circuit) and
  • (as in taking electrons away from the circuit)
    was thought to be correct.

Then, upon further discovery, they realized the electron current really flows from neg(-) to pos(+)

from wikipidea
For historical reasons, electric current is said to flow from the most positive part of a circuit to the most negative part. The electric current thus defined is called conventional current. It is now known that, depending on the conditions, an electric current can consist of a flow of charged particles in either direction, or even in both directions at once. The positive-to-negative convention is widely used to simplify this situation. If another definition is used - for example, “electron current” - it should be explicitly stated

The positive-two negative flow, sounds like ‘hole flow’ something taught to make dc and ac circuits easier to understand. Not necessarily true for “real world” electricity.

This was a flashback, so don’t ask for more details.


You had to bring up “hole flow”. Good luck explaining that here. It takes a while to get your brain around that concept. Now I’m having flashbacks.:shock:


An unknown force governed by know laws

Ok…I am not going into extended detail but I will explain a few things.

Electons revolve at high speeds in an orbit around an atom’s nucleus. However, according to the Law of Electrical Chances, the attraction between the positive charged of the protons and the negative charge of the electrons keeps the electrons from breaking out of their orbit.

The outermost shell ( orbit I speak of ) is called the Valance Shell and electrons in this shell are called valance electrons. The number of electrons in the Valance Shell is eight.

The attractive forces of the protons is freater on electrons that are closest to the nucleus. Electrons in the ornits farthest away from the nucleus have less energy and they are more readily seperated from their atomic structure.

When energy is applied to the valance ( as in a generator per say causing magentic change )electrons of an atom, the energy is distributed evenly among all the valance electrons. Thus, if their are fewer valance electrons for a given amoung of energy, each valance electron receives more of the available energy.

The movement of electrons from their atoms is the basis of current flow and is also known as “Electricity”

Elements that have one valance electron, such as silver, copper and gold , make for the best conductors. Copper is a better conductor than alluminum because the single copper valance electron receives ALL of the energy, while each of the three aluminum electrons only receive one-third of the energy and this accounts for the thing known as resistance.

An ataom is completly stable when its outer valence shell is completly filled with eight electrons. Insulators are atoms that have six to eight valance electrons. Atoms that have seven valance electrons activley TRY to become stable( become an eight valance electon ), and they make the best electrical insulator. ( wow not I know that will confuse you…just ignore that as it gets WAY to technical )

I am sure we are all familiar with the concept of " Like Poles Repet" and " Unlike Poles Attract"…

Well…simply put Electrical Current is the unseen movement of electrons that flow from the power source through the electrical circuit of athe appliance or equipment and then return to the power source. The complete path the electron takes is called an electrical circuit.

Take as simply battery…Electric current is produced by forcing billions upon billions of electrons to move through an electrical circuit. A power source accomplishes this by applying a negative charge to one end of the circuit ( repels electrons from the source ) and a positive charge to the other end ( attracts the electrons to the source)

To FORCE electrons to move ( create a current flow so to speak ), some form of energy must be applied to the electrons to cause them to leave their atom, this energy can be supplied by chemical reaction, magnetism, light heat or pressure.

I can explain them all…but WAY too technical and details that even have to refer to the manual when teaching it…WHY because I dont feel it is something I need to comit to memory…got enough up their to worry about losing when I get old.

But lets talk about the MOST widely used one…

Moving a magnetic field through a conductor provides the energy needd to cuase the valance electrons in the conductor to flow in a given direction.Moving the magnetic field in the opposite direction relative to the conductor to flow in the opposite direction…think of this as a large coil of wire running through a motor that spins a magnet with a POS and NEG pole on each end…passing it over the conductors running inside…very fast makes the ELECTRONS in the valance shell of the conductor go WILD…causing the reaction and movement of electrons.

Important : it is NOT the force of the magetic feild through the conductor that produces electricity. it is the relative motion of the magnetic field to the electrons within the conductor itself. The moving of the magnet actually pulls and pushes the valance electrons thought the circuit…AMAZING STUFF

If their is no movement of the magnetic field relative to the electrons within the conductor, theire is no electron flow, no matter how strong the magnetic field may be…no movement no electricity…no moving electrons and well…no lights !

Now…since most of my stuff is garbled…hope you all can understand this and help explain it.

thanks Paul very interesting

As long as you know which end of the doide or transistor the “plusses” come out of It really doesn’t make any difference.